Arts & Culture

Arts & culture

Jhené Aiko is not of this world.

Somewhere between pop-oriented R&B and traditional soul, the singer-songwriter floats like an ethereal voice disembodied from typical format and genre distinctions. So when we talk one week prior to the unannounced release of her epic new album, it comes as no surprise that she's much more interested in easing into the big reveal rather than making a huge splash.

There are a lot of things to admire about James McBride: chiefly, his refusal to be pinned down. The journalist and writer took the literary world by storm in 1995 with his memoir The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother, then followed it up with three well-received historical novels, the most recent of which, The Good Lord Bird, won the 2013 National Book Award for Fiction. Between books, he's busied himself with screenwriting, songwriting, and playing his beloved tenor saxophone.

In this session of World Cafe, we've got four superstar musicians for the price of one: Carlos Santana, one of the greatest guitarists of all time; Cindy Blackman Santana, a virtuoso jazz and rock drummer who spent decades as the backbone on world tours for artists like Lenny Kravitz, and her now-husband Carlos; and Ron and Ernie Isley, the two main surviving members of the legendary Isley Brothers.

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David Litt was 24 years old and just a few years out of college when he landed a job writing speeches for President Barack Obama — an experience he calls "surreal and completely terrifying."

Though he was initially assigned the speeches no one else wanted to write, Litt eventually became a special assistant to the president and senior presidential speechwriter. His duties included writing jokes for the short comedy routine Obama performed annually at the White House Correspondents' Association Dinners.

Satya Nadella's new book is called Hit Refresh (like when you reload a webpage). And in it, the CEO of Microsoft doesn't focus on the remarkable story of his climb from middle-class kid in India to head of an American tech giant. Instead, he explores at length a feeling he's working to cultivate in himself: empathy.

It doesn't come as a surprise to people that big names like Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon are among the five or 10 most valuable companies on earth. But the fact that Microsoft is also on that shortlist surprises people.

Salman Rushdie's American Tale

17 hours ago

With guest host John Donvan.

Salman Rushdie’s 13th novel is something of a departure from his other works. In “The Golden House,” Rushdie keeps the magical realism to a minimum and sets the story in America — specifically, the city he now calls home: New York.

The book takes on contemporary American politics through the story of a wealthy and mysterious immigrant family that finds itself in crisis after decades of living in the Big Apple.

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Even when things aren't going your way, there's chocolate: a universal balm if ever there was one. While cacao beans –– the precursor of a chocolate bar –– grow in many places, one country where you can find superb specimens is Venezuela.

It looks like a fairy tale palace.

With its pink stucco walls and massive coral stone terraces, the Vizcaya Museum & Gardens is a beloved South Florida landmark that has drawn Miamians for 60 years. But since getting blasted by Hurricane Irma, the estate more resembles the part in the fairy tale after an evil spell is cast, and the forest overgrows the castle.

An estimated 4 percent of Americans have food allergies, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has concluded that allergies are a growing public health concern. But diagnosing allergies can be tricky, and kids can outgrow them, too.

It's been one year since bells tolled along the East Coast, welcoming the newest Smithsonian to the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Since then, the museum has attracted more than 3 million people of all races, colors and creed from across the nation and around the world — averaging about 8,000 visitors daily.

When it comes to brownie recipes, one would usually expect to hear ingredients such as flour, sugar, eggs and chocolate. But one woman dished out a most unusual addition – a heavy serving of infidelity. It all started when The New York Times published Katharine Hepburn's Brownies Recipe two years ago.

The 1782 French novel Les Liaisons Dangereuses — a steamy story of aristocrats behaving badly — has been told many times over the centuries in adaptations for the stage and screen. A new retelling, Unforgivable Love, has just as much betrayal and bed-hopping as the original, but in a new setting: glamourous, 1940s Harlem.

Author Sophfronia Scott says she was inspired to set the story in high society Harlem by the story of Madam C.J. Walker — a wealthy, African-American entrepreneur who made her fortune in beauty and hair products.

Jason Sheehan knows stuff about food, video games, books and Starblazers. He is currently the restaurant critic at Philadelphia magazine, but when no one is looking, he spends his time writing books about giant robots and ray guns. Tales From the Radiation Age is his latest book.

Adderall and Red Bull. Pringles and cigarettes and scotch. More Adderall and more Red Bull and, if you mix them in just the right way and shake violently for months, you might end up with a videogame.

They say if you want something done right, do it yourself. But for Ray Halbritter, it was more a case of, "if you want something done at all."

Halbritter, the CEO of Oneida Nation Enterprises, wasn't seeing stories by or about Native Americans in mainstream media outlets, and on the rare occasion those places did try to write about indigenous people, the stories often got distorted.

For many people, the Jewish High Holidays are a time of celebration and spiritual renewal. But for those who have a more ambivalent relationship to their faith — those who might identify as culturally Jewish rather than religious — this time of year can be challenging.

This year, the 40th anniversary of the opening of Studio 54, a onetime Manhattan nightspot where very good-looking people danced to very good music while snorting very good drugs, has seen the publication of two memoirs by past owners.

The New York City Ballet's costume shop is located on the eighth floor of a building in Lincoln Center. There are spectacular views of the Hudson River, but no one's looking out the windows. They're all working with a quiet intensity.

"It's a shop full of 18 people," says Marc Happel, the City Ballet's director of costumes. "Amazing craftspeople, machine operators, hand stitching, we have three drapers. I mean the level of costume-making here is probably the highest you could get."

A Suicide Reverberates In 'The Ninth Hour'

Sep 23, 2017

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Many of Lee Daniels' projects — the movie Precious, the TV shows Empire and Star — tend to be about people who start with everything against them and rise up to do amazing things. (While occasionally killing people along the way, which happens.)

In Empire, Daniels created one of the great TV characters of our time — the ambitious record company matriarch Cookie Lyon — so we'll be quizzing him on actual cookies.

Click the audio link above to see how he does.

This week, I went to the Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore to sit in on a conducting class led by Marin Alsop, the music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. The Maestra was showing several Peabody students — aspiring young conductors — some of the fine points of leading an orchestra, as they led musicians through Don Juan, the dramatic tone poem by Richard Strauss.

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For the first time since the mid-1950s, students can buy caffeinated soft drinks at Brigham Young University's dining halls in Provo, Utah.

Mormons avoid drinking coffee and tea. In general, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has a complicated – and often misunderstood – relationship with caffeine.

In 2012, the Church issued a press release that was explicit: "the Church revelation spelling out health practices ... does not mention the use of caffeine."

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Sometimes it's hard to get people to pay attention to the biggest problems of the world — poverty, hunger, disease. But what if they were printed on M&M's?

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